The Common Ground We Meet Upon

Music Collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library


Music carries meaning in our lives that connects us to shared traditions, builds relationships and communities, and gives powerful expression to our beliefs and values.  This exhibit celebrates American music from several collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library through diaries, letters, photographs, posters, zines, and musical scores and recordings. 

Music can be found throughout the Rubenstein Library, from the Historic American Sheet Music Collection to the Jazz Archives, and myriad other examples spanning the eleventh to twenty-first centuries. But you’ll also find it in more unexpected collections: the Southern History and Culture Collections; the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture; the Archive of Documentary Arts. These diverse collections invite researchers to use music in the study of cultural heritage, political movements, religion, war, race relations, and more. Each artifact in this exhibit imparts its own musical story and reveals the power of music to transcend the notes on the page and transform lives.